Michelle Hara No Comments

News of “Million Dollar Baby” and the case of an Australian who is now facing a growing six-figure medical bill are serving as a cautionary tale for other travellers buying insurance.
Yet, travel health insurance saved the majority of Canadians, research shows.

The vast majority (95.3 per cent) of Canadians who purchased individual travel health insurance policies had their claims paid, says a report based on a KPMG survey of Canadian providers commissioned by the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA).  Respondents to the survey indicated that the amount of claims paid to more than 103,000 insured travellers exceeded $138 million.

“We’re delighted that more than 95 per cent of travellers had their medical claims paid but that means that five per cent saw their claims denied,” said THIA President Alex Bittner. “Insurance is designed to pay claims. Our goal is to see an increase in these high rates of successful claims.”
A recent THIA survey1 of Canadians revealed that 18 per cent of respondents have inadvertently provided inaccurate health information on travel health insurance forms – something that is to be avoided as it can void an insurance policy.Fourteen per centhave deliberately provided inaccurate health information on travel insurance applications with half of those admitting that they did so to receive a lower rate.  And, only 33 per cent have reviewed medical forms with a physician when applying for travel health insurance.

“Responding accurately to medical forms is the best way to have a carefree holiday and ensure that unexpected medical expenses will be covered by insurance,” said Bittner. “Provincial health plans only pay for approximately 9 per cent of out-of-country medical costs.  If there is a medical questionnaire, it needs to be taken seriously.”
The top two reasons for denied claims include medical non-disclosure and misrepresentation and for pre-existing conditions that were not stable as required by policies.
THiA recommends that Canadians do the following to have carefree vacations:

  • Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions
  • Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive or undertake any high risk activities?
  • Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance companies have staff available to assist you and answer any questions related to policies

The THiA website has a guide available to help Canadians understand their travel insurance needs before they investigate policies.

Source: The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada